It is a fact of life … and this is a VERY important lesson … that what we think or believe is NOT necessarily what other people think and believe.
This seems obvious to me, but clearly not everyone agrees because people keep making statements that assume there is just one way of looking at, or doing, things. If that were actually the case then this would be a strange and homogeneous world!
So … some thoughts:
1. Keep an open mind … and seek to understand other people before you judge.
2. Don’t criticise other people when you don’t fully understand their reasoning. If you start a sentence with I don’t understand why people do <whatever> … you are areally saying “these people are stupid”.
3. Be prepared to listen, more than to talk.
4. Don’t jump to conclusions … especially based on just your own experiences. Other people have different experiences that help shape their beliefs.
5. You don’t have to change your thinking/actions because of someone else’s stance … but it helps if you understand why they feel that way.
Politics is an excellent example of how people can have competing ideas/beliefs and yet both can have validity. The Keystone pipeline debate in the US for example. Environmentalists are concerned about the long term impact of that pipeline, the other side felt that job creation and the fact that there are different environmental & political concerns with the alternative should win the day. Extreme supporters on both sides would have trouble seeing the validity of each others point of view, but it is important to understand those points of view in order to defend yours.
Sports is another area where people “wear blinkers” … if it were only the highest profile teams that had supporters the system would not work.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” … Steven Covey.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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